For an overview of the full policy in relation to the appointment of supervisors, please review the Appointment and Duties of External Supervisors approved 2009
Who can supervise? At the meeting of Academic Council in March 2012 the regulations relating to PhD supervision were amended to read:
- Generally, supervisors are permanent academic members of staff.
- However, full-time temporary academic staff (with at least a three year contact), qualified to PhD level and suitably experienced, may undertake supervision of PhD or research masters students with the approval of the Head of Department or Institute. The granting of approval will be reported to the Registrar, who will notify Academic Council. The Head of Department or Institute must also provide the name of a member of permanent academic staff as secondary supervisor, and thus ensure that the department or institute is able to provide alternative supervisory arrangements should the fixed term contract not be extended for any reason.
The regulations apply only to lecturing staff appointed on 3 year contracts and not to staff who had completed 3 or more years on multiple contracts of shorter duration.
In general, the possibility of spreading the supervisory responsibility, for example by use of supervisory teams, is regarded as appropriate. However, the need for a primary Supervisor with main responsibility is still regarded as the norm.
Duties With Student
The Supervisor should:
- Be familiar with, and seek to ensure that the candidate is familiar with:
- The regulations and schedules of the University for higher degrees by research
- The administrative structures and processes of the University relevant to research applications as outlined in “Route of Administrative Progression for a Ph.D. Degree from Application to Thesis Submission”
- Ph.D. Research Student Supervisory Policy
- University Safety Policy
- Ethical Review and Research Integrity Policy: Authorship and Publication Guidelines.
- Whenever possible prior to enrolment, discuss with the candidate the nature of the research and the standards appropriate for the degree and negotiate an agreed research topic. A topic must be chosen which enables research embodying new knowledge at a level appropriate to the degree to be completed in the specified time. The experience of the Supervisor is an essential element in choosing the topic and it is the Supervisor’s responsibility to seek to ensure that the topic is appropriate.
- Give guidance about the nature of research and the standard expected, about the planning of the research programme and presentation of a research proposal, about literature research and appropriate courses to attend.
- Assist the candidate with planning. The Supervisor should seek to ensure that accurate information regarding his/her own research and professional/administrative leave and any retirement plans for the period of the candidate’s project is given to the candidate.
- Maintain contact through regular supervisory meetings with the student; request regular written work or results of research to date. Return such reports in reasonable time with comments as necessary.
- Seek to ensure progress of the student is evaluated annually as outlined in the Departmental Handbook.
- Seek to ensure that the work reported in the dissertation is the student's own.
- If the Supervisor feels obliged to recommend a candidate be terminated because of unsatisfactory progress, he/she must make this recommendation to the Head of Department who will inform the student accordingly.
- Encourage the publication of the results of the research where appropriate, provided that any published work is coherently incorporated into the thesis.
- Assist and advise on career path and professional opportunities.
- Facilitate the student meeting other researchers and encourage attendance at research seminars, meetings or conferences as appropriate.
- Seek to ensure that the student is aware of all relevant funding opportunities open to them and actively encourage the student to apply.
Duties With Department
- If a Supervisor is to be on leave for a period greater than one month, the Supervisor, in consultation with the Head of Department, should seek to ensure that adequate supervisory arrangements are made.
- Ensure that the thesis research of the student is within the Supervisor's professional expertise (otherwise a new Supervisor should be appointed by the Head of Department) and, where a change in research direction occurs, recommend appropriate graduate supervisory adjustments to the Head of Department.
- Advise the Head of Department of the progress of the student prior to the annual review and in accordance with departmental regulations.
- A candidate shall not submit his/her thesis until the Supervisor confirms approval for examination of the final draft of the Ph.D. thesis to the Head of Department and the Head of Department confirms approval for examination of the final draft of the Ph.D. thesis to the Registrar (Examinations Office). Where a candidate considers that such confirmation has been withheld unreasonably, he/she may appeal to the Registrar or Dean of Graduate Studies.
- Agree the nomination(s) of an External Examiner with the Head of Department.
Duties With Registrar
The Supervisor should follow procedures as outlined in “Route of Administrative Progression to a Ph.D. Degree from Application to Thesis Submission.”
Duties With Examiners
- The Supervisor should be available for consultation with the Examiners prior to the examination.
- The Supervisor may attend the examination, but may not examine or question the candidate and should only provide clarification on any matters when requested by the Board. The Supervisor does not participate in the final decision and should leave the examination room while such deliberations take place, unless asked to remain by the Chairperson.